Analyst: Aleph layoff curious in strong industry

LOVELAND — The 80 percent layoff at Aleph Objects Inc., a 3D printer manufacturer in Loveland, is a curious development in an industry that remains very strong, according to industry analyst Terry Wohlers, president of Wohlers Associates Inc., based in Fort Collins.

Wohlers produces the Wohlers Report annually each March that reviews the 3D printing industry worldwide. Wohlers has been producing the report for well over two decades.

“It makes you wonder if something else is going on,” he told BizWest Monday. Having a layoff of that size — Aleph slashed about 90 of 113 jobs last week — that quickly would seem to indicate that something was not foreseen, he said. Aleph attributed the reduction in force to cash-flow issues.

Aleph Objects has had a good reputation and a good customer base in the industry, Wohlers said, but it has a lot of competition. Aleph is often seen at industry trade shows domestically and internationally, Wohlers said. 

Aleph reported sales of about 9,000 machines in each of 2018 and 2017, Wohlers said as he reviewed his Wohlers Report 2019, the most recent information available. To put that in perspective, “there were 591,079 printers sold in that class in 2018,” he said. Most desktop machines are sold to educational institutions and companies that want a machine for prototyping  and early product design work. 

Wohlers divides the industry into two classes — desktop machines selling for less than $5,000 and industrial machines selling for more than that. In the industrial class, 19,285 units were sold in 2018, he said.

“There’s a dramatic difference in the price points. The average selling price of a desktop machine was $1,260 in 2018 and the average selling price of an industrial machine was $97,609,” Wohlers said. Few companies play in both markets, he said.

Aleph has begun to develop technology to bio-print — to produce living tissue for organs. It isn’t alone in that industry, either, Wohlers said. “There’s a lot of R&D going on right now, but practical applications aren’t there yet,” he said.

Wohlers will begin to produce the 2020 industry report in December and at that point will have a better sense for the impact of the manufacturing slowdown on the 3D industry. He expects to see some softening.  

 

LOVELAND — The 80 percent layoff at Aleph Objects Inc., a 3D printer manufacturer in Loveland, is a curious development in an industry that remains very strong, according to industry analyst Terry Wohlers, president of Wohlers Associates Inc., based in Fort Collins.

Wohlers produces the Wohlers Report annually each March that reviews the 3D printing industry worldwide. Wohlers has been producing the report for well over two decades.

“It makes you wonder if something else is going on,” he told BizWest Monday. Having a layoff of that size — Aleph slashed about 90 of 113 jobs last week — that quickly would seem to indicate that something was not foreseen, he said. Aleph attributed the reduction in force to cash-flow issues.

Aleph Objects has had a good reputation and a good customer base in the industry, Wohlers said, but it has a lot of competition. Aleph is often seen at industry trade shows domestically and internationally, Wohlers said. 

Aleph reported sales of about 9,000 machines in each of 2018 and 2017, Wohlers said as he reviewed his Wohlers Report 2019, the most recent information available. To put that in perspective, “there were 591,079 printers sold in that class in 2018,” he said. Most desktop machines are sold to educational institutions and companies that want a machine for prototyping  and early product design work. 

Wohlers divides the industry into two classes — desktop machines selling for less than $5,000 and industrial machines selling for more than that. In the industrial class, 19,285 units…